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13 February 2009

Al Ghassan Motors to Retail Lotus Cars in Saudi Arabia


Lotus Cars Limited, the sportscar subsidiary of Group Lotus plc, is both honoured and pleased to announce the appointment of Al Ghassan Motors (trading under the name Al Ghassan Lotus) for the retail of Lotus cars in Saudi Arabia.

Mr. Michael J. Kimberley, CEO of Group Lotus plc comments “I would like to welcome Al Ghassan Lotus to the Lotus brand. The Saudi Arabian market is extremely important to us and we are most honoured to have teamed up with such a professional and enthusiastic organisation. The Lotus brand is well known in Saudi Arabia through our globally recognised Lotus Cars, our fantastic motorsport heritage and of course our high technology global engineering consultancy and our new brand presence in Saudi Arabia is the first step in our plans to promote the Lotus brand in the Middle East region.”

Sheik Ghassan A. H. Al Sulaiman, C.E.O. of Al Ghassan Motors, commented: “Our strategy for the Lotus brand is to capitalise on its heritage and the unique product offering; we aim to satisfy a niche of customers in the market for whom the Lotus brand will have huge appeal. This market shows strong affinity for sports cars and their performance on and off the race tracks; we believe we will see a positive response to Lotus which not only can trace its roots to the race track but also offer a really exciting and youthful drive on the road. “Given the success enjoyed by Al Ghassan Motors and the experience gained over the years in the retailing and marketing of premium and luxury niche sports car brands, we see our company as being well placed to give the Lotus brand the strongest opportunity in Saudi Arabia and as such the brand will benefit from our usual high standards of customer service and aftersales support.”

Sheik Ghassan A. H. Al Sulaiman, continues, “The business, having grown from strength to strength over the years, has established our company as being a formidable player in the motor industry in Saudi Arabia with which we have developed a valuable network of clients providing an optimum platform to launch the Lotus brand in the Kingdom. Our business also has strong ties with motor racing in Saudi Arabia given my involvement with the first FIA approved racing circuit in the Kingdom, the Reem International Circuit, a 3.8 km long, medium speed, technical circuit which will prove ideal to enjoy the performance of Lotus cars.”

Al Ghassan Lotus is based in Jeddah and will have dealerships and service facilities in Jeddah, Riyadh and Al Khobar. The first cars to enter the Saudi Arabian market are the legendary Lotus Elise SC, the dramatic Lotus Exige S and the awesome road and track use Lotus Exige Cup 260. The incredibly quick and ultra- ight weight Lotus 2-Eleven will also be available, but for track use only. The all new Lotus Evora, a stunning 2+2 mid engined sportscar, which was unveiled at the British International Motorshow in July 2008, will enter the market in early 2010.

Lotus has conducted extensive testing of the Elise SC, the Exige S and the Exige Cup 260 in the Middle East and has made significant changes to these models to cope with the high ambient temperatures and humidity, as well as the high levels of atmospheric dust and sand. However, none of the purity of driving experience or overall vehicle performance has been lost following the adaption of these technical changes.

Mr. Michael J. Kimberley, CEO of Group Lotus plc, explains further about the specific changes to the Elise and Exige for the Saudi Arabian market, “We have spent two summers in the Gulf Region testing the Elise and Exige in this very hot, humid and dusty environment. I am very pleased with the package of region specific changes which include an uprated radiator, enhanced heat management package, heat reflective windscreen, dust filtration for the cockpit ventilation system and an optional auxiliary air-conditioning unit. We have also included exclusive cockpit insulation, boot insulation and leather clad gearknob and handbrake sleeve in the Touring Pack option to supplement the overall occupant comfort in this extreme climate. These changes add very little weight to the Elise and Exige so drivers will still be able to experience the renowned Lotus driving experience.”

A fleet of race specification Lotus Exige Cup 260 cars is being built at the advanced high technology Lotus manufacturing facility in Hethel, Norfolk, UK. These race specification cars, a direct development of the Lotus Exige Cup 260 road cars, are being built specifically for an exciting Lotus one-make racing series based at the Reem International Circuit, 80 km west of Riyadh.

The first shipment of Lotus Elise and Exige models have already arrived in Saudi Arabia in preparation for the launch of Al Ghassan Lotus. The new facilities will all be in line with the corporate image and training standards set out by Lotus Cars.